There’s no question about it: the demand for home health aides (HHAs) is exploding. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the profession will grow a staggering 25% between 2021 and 2031. As more and more people choose to age in place, the United States is facing a significant shortage of qualified home health aides to care for them. For agencies, this means that there’s never been a more competitive time for hiring home health aides.
How can you stay ahead and find the best qualified candidates to deliver care? Here’s our step-by-step guide for employers looking to hire HHAs.
1. Write a Strong Job Description
Your job description is often your first point of contact with a potential candidate, so it’s crucial that your post is as effective as possible. You might be surprised at how often candidates dismiss job opportunities because of unclear or unappealing job posts. You already know how to write a job description, but how do you make your posts competitive in the fast-paced world of healthcare hiring?
Elements of a Strong Job Description
- An introduction to your company. Candidates are looking for an organization that treats its residents and patients with dignity and care. Include a taste of what you’re all about by outlining your mission and values.
- Requirements and qualifications. Unless you have an in-house training program, you need to make sure that every worker you hire has the appropriate licenses to deliver the level of care that they’re assigned to. State this clearly in your job description to avoid wasting time on candidates you can’t hire. Similarly, you want to be sure you’re clear about the amount of experience you want your employees to have. Are you accepting entry level candidates? Do you want them to have home health experience specifically, or is senior care experience in general permissible? Finally, some home health aide positions require care at unusual hours. Make sure you mention when your candidates need to be available, including whether or not they’ll have to respond during emergencies and be on-call.
- Benefits for the employee. Include anything that’s attractive to the employee, including but not limited to medical benefits, PTO, and retirement benefits. This is also the place to include information about flexible scheduling, daily pay, employee engagement programs and more.
- Contract length. If this isn’t a permanent position, make sure that you’re clear about the length of the contract.
- Soft skills. What soft skills are necessary for this position? Soft skills include communication, bedside manner, and composure under crisis. If a potential candidate reads your soft skills and sees themselves in them, then you’re one step closer to finding someone who can fulfill your customer’s needs.
- Special care needs. Do your hires need experience in caring for memory patients, or another specialized type of care? The job description is the best place to ensure that you’re getting the appropriate candidates in your inbox.
- Salary. Increasingly, posting a salary range is becoming a way to be competitive in the job description. According to Monster, almost all (98%) of candidates believe that companies should put salaries in job postings. If you’re posting your range, and your competitors aren’t, then you’re more likely to attract candidates who want to know what they’ll be paid. In fact, you may be hiring home health aides in a state that requires you to disclose salaries by law. In addition, some job boards provide better visibility for jobs with salaries posted, in order to make the candidate job search experience better.
2. Post on Your Chosen Job Site
After you have an excellent job description, it’s time to post on a job board. Both healthcare specific and general job boards can help you reach different candidate pools.
But posting on job boards isn’t just a single simple action—where you post, and how you post, affects, ultimately, how you hire.
Optimizing Your Reach
Sponsored job posts are a great way to reach more candidates. With sponsored job posts, you’ll be able to access candidate pools that may not be available to you organically. Sponsoring jobs also gives you better ad visibility, making it easier for candidates to find and apply to your jobs.
But of course, you need to make sure that you’re spending your budget appropriately. That’s where analytics comes in.
Analytics, or reporting, can be used to determine your success as a hiring team. It can also show where you might need to reallocate your efforts. Some things that analytics tell you can include:
- Where you’re experiencing candidate drop off: Is there a place in the application process where candidates aren’t moving forward?
- The quality of your candidates: Are you getting lots of candidates, but being forced to mark them as unqualified? Analytics can tell you what percentage of your candidates are actually qualified for the roles to which they apply.
- Time-to-hire: What’s the average time it takes for your candidates to become new hires? You can use analytics to determine both your average time-to-hire and how long certain stages in the process takes. For example, do you have a long time between an interview and the hiring process? There may be parts of this stage that you can condense.
- Number of candidates sourced from each job post: Are you unsure about sponsored vs. unsponsored job posts? You can look at the numbers to determine how wide your reach is with both. Then, you can adjust your spend based on what the data shows you. You can also understand if candidates are declining interviews and offers (and for what reason).
3. Screen Candidates As Part of Your Application
Have any non-negotiables for candidates? Use screening questions to ensure you only get the most qualified applicants. Pre-screening or knock out questions are great ways to ensure that candidates are qualified without adding too many steps to the application process. Knockout questions are typically multiple choice and easy to parse and answer. You can use software to easily automate these knockout questions across job boards, so that every candidate has a uniform experience.
For home health, questions can include things like
- Do you have the appropriate licenses for this position?
- Do you have more than two years of experience with home care or senior care?
- Are you qualified to handle patients in memory care, or another specific type of care?
With questions like these, you can ensure that almost every candidate who turns up in your inbox is 100% qualified.
4. Conduct an Interview
Now that you’ve written your job description, posted your job, and found an available candidate, it’s time to conduct an interview. Here’s a few handy questions to help shape your interview process.
- Why did you leave your last home health aide job?
- What days and/or times are you available to work?
- Are you able to respond to emergencies?
- Being a home health aide can be challenging. Are you able to work in a high pressure environment?
- Do you have the certifications necessary to perform basic medical tasks like taking vital signs, changing bandages or changing a colostomy pouch?
- Do you know how to use necessary medical equipment like oxygen tanks, nebulizers, or wheelchairs?
- Do you have experience working with the dementia and memory-impaired population? Give an example.
- Have you ever had to deal with a hostile patient? If so, how did you handle this situation?
- You suspect a client is being neglected by family members/your coworkers. How do you handle this?
- Describe your most challenging/rewarding client or case. What did you learn?
Should You Ask for References When Hiring Home Health Aides?
Home health aides work closely with clients, and usually without a supervisor present. References can give you the peace of mind to ensure that your new employee is trustworthy and reliable. However, adding references to your application can greatly decrease the number of candidates, and increase your time to hire. Ultimately, it’ll be up to you and your circumstances if references are right for you.
5. Conduct a Background Check
Before you pull the trigger on a new hire, you’ll have to ensure that they pass your background checks. Background checks ensure that the information that your employees have offered you is accurate and up-to-date. They’re also a legal necessity in many states.
Background checks can cover ID and employment history verification, criminal records, the sex offender registry, the federal exclusion list, healthcare sanctions history, driving records, and more. Read up on your state laws to understand what elements of a background check can eliminate someone from the hiring process, or invest in software like Apploi—which keeps up to date on local background check laws so you don’t have to.
6. Onboard Your New Hire
Because every HHA will have a different experience, tailored onboarding is crucial. This means working with the employee one-on-one to ensure that the placement is successful and your employee is meeting their goals.
After finishing onboarding, set up a check-in meeting to monitor how your new employee acclimates. Many organizations set 30/60/90-day goals, making a plan for what success looks like one month, two months, and three months in. Check in with your employees at each of these milestones and ensure that they’re comfortable in their new roles.
Better Hiring With Apploi
In this competitive marketplace, hiring for home health can feel daunting. You don’t have to do it alone. Apploi’s suite of hiring, onboarding, and management tools can help you stay one step ahead of the competition. Schedule a demo today.